Right to Movement
The right to freedom of movement is another fundamental human right recognized by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The right to movement encompasses the freedom to travel within one’s own country (often referred to as the right to internal movement) as well as the right to leave any country and return to one’s own country (known as the right to external movement or the right to travel).
This right ensures that individuals have the freedom to move, reside, and settle within their own country, as well as the right to enter, exit, and return to their country of nationality or citizenship. It is closely linked to the notions of personal autonomy, choice, and the ability to pursue opportunities, education, employment, and a higher standard of living.
However, it’s important to note that the right to freedom of movement is not absolute and may be subject to certain limitations. These limitations can be based on legitimate grounds, such as national security, public order, public health, and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. For example, governments may impose restrictions on movement during times of emergency, in areas affected by conflict, or to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Additionally, states may also impose restrictions on the right to external movement through immigration laws and border controls. These restrictions are generally aimed at regulating immigration, ensuring national security, and managing borders. However, any restrictions on the right to movement must be lawful, proportionate, and not arbitrary.
The right to freedom of movement is an essential aspect of personal liberty and human dignity. It enables individuals to seek better opportunities, escape persecution, reunite with family, and exercise their other rights. It is important for governments to ensure that any restrictions on this right are necessary, reasonable, and in compliance with international human rights standards.